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Auggie

I had a loving, loyal golden retriever named Auggie for 14 years. This past week, my boss who had an 11 year old golden - had to put her dog to sleep. It dug up a lot of raw emotion and I've had a hard time dealing with it so I decided to share with all of you.

We got Auggie when I was seven. We'd spent the day out looking for a dog and were about to give up when we walked out to the yard of the last place we were visiting. I noticed a dog was following me down the outside of the fence. When we got to the end, he jumped into my arms and I fell in love.

He was the cutest little golden retriever puppy you could imagine and though he was full of energy - he was a very well behaved dog. I had an infant sister at the time but with no one else around my age in the house, Auggie became my best friend. We played fetch, wrestled around, curled up on the couch together... and he was a great listener. He was there for me through childhood and my awkward teenage years. It was incredible to me how he was always so perceptive of my mood. He knew how I was feeling and what I needed. If I was happy, he'd play and if I was sad, he'd snuggle up to me.

When I was 21, I was away at college and I got a call from home - one I'd been dreading for a long time. Auggie was not doing well. His old age was taking over his body and he was very arthritic and was having trouble seeing and hearing. He was unable to get around very well and it was clear he was in pain. My parents took him to the vet and she suggested - based on the rate of deterioration - that we have him put to sleep.

I bawled my eyes out and told them to wait until I could be home with him. I had to spend time with my puppy before he left. I went home and much to my surprise - when I walked in the door he was so happy to see me that he ran over and licked my face and acted as if he was full of energy and not having any issues. Seeing that side of him, I had a hard time believing he was in such bad shape but I know he was being strong for me.

I spent the evening curled up next to him on the floor - feeling sad but comforted that I was able to have my time with him before we took him to the vet the next day. My dad was about to take him to the vet and asked if I wanted to go with him. I said of course - I wouldn't have it any other way. He told me I didn't have to and he knew it would be tough but I stuck to my guns - I knew that I couldn't let him go without me.

When we got there, we were taken in to one of the exam rooms. The vet came in, explained how the process would work and said she would give us a few minutes to say our goodbyes. We clung to him and told him how much we loved him and what a great dog he was. The vet came back a few minutes later and explained again how it was going to work - then asked us if we were ready. I told her I'd never be ready but I knew that Auggie deserved to die peacefully and with dignity. I appreciate how warm she was with us throughout the situation. Then she put the needle into the IV and slowly injected the fluid. As she had described, Auggie breathed in a couple times, then jumped softly and it was over. I lost it but was happy to see that it really was painless for him.

Not surprisingly - I'm bawling as I type this. I don't know that I've ever had a better friend in my life than I had in that dog. I see goldens everywhere and it makes me sad but I know I'll have another one someday. He won't be as awesome as Auggie - but I know he'll be a great dog and a great friend. Thanks to any of you who made it to the end of the story. It feels good to share with people I know understand how it feels to love and lose a best friend.
MuchToShare MuchToShare 26-30, F Jan 7, 2012

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